Ipswich fighting to keep kids
IPSWICH Town are fighting a rearguard action to keep two of their brightest young stars.Charlton Athletic are expected to make another attempt to sign Darren Bent on Monday while Liverpool are believed to be ready to make a move for Dean BowditchLiverpool, along with a number of Premiership and SPL clubs, have been closely monitoring the 18-year-old Bowditch and want to steal a march on their rivals by making a move before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
By Derek Davis
Chief Football Writer
IPSWICH Town are fighting a rearguard action to keep two of their brightest young stars.
Charlton Athletic are expected to make another attempt to sign Darren Bent on Monday while Liverpool are believed to be ready to make a move for Dean Bowditch
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Liverpool, along with a number of Premiership and SPL clubs, have been closely monitoring the 18-year-old Bowditch and want to steal a march on their rivals by making a move before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
The Blues do not want to sell until at least January when the transfer window reopens when they will have a clearer picture of where they sit in the promotion chase.
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Town have stayed ominously tight-lipped about the negotiations but the EADT understands David Sheepshanks had initially agreed a price of £3m for Bent.
Then when the Addicks made their formal offer last Wednesday they were told the following day Ipswich wanted more and rejected the bid.
After coming out of administration 14 months ago, the Blues have settled down financially and are no longer in a position where they would be forced to sell players, as was the case when Matt Holland and Hermann Hriedarsson went to the Valley.
But Joe Royle has little leeway to bring in new players and has been told by chief executive Derek Bowden that he needs to move players off the wage bill.
Pablo Counago and Shefki Kuqi have been told they can leave for nothing but the Finn has rejected two moves away, while the Spaniard admits he feels he is being forced out and it has affected his confidence.
England Under-21 striker Bent has become hot property after impressing in the past two seasons. He rejected a move to Newcastle United last season but after making his mark in the national side with three goals in six appearances and starting this season with two goals in four league games, Bent could be ready to step back into the top flight where he has already played with Ipswich.
Bent's agent Jonathan Barnett last night said: "Darren is ready to play in the Premiership and that could happen this time round but it depends if Charlton make an improved offer for him before Tuesday."
Although Bent has been with the club since he was a 10-year-old, and made his debut for them as a 17-year-old in the UEFA Cup in Helsingborg, he has seen many of his team-mates move to Premiership clubs.
He has a desire to join them in the top flight, preferably with Ipswich, and for the sake of his career will not want to turn too many chances down, especially as Town have missed out on promotion in the past two seasons.
His sale would not be welcomed by Town supporters, especially as signing Bent would leave the way free for Charlton to allow Jonatan Johansson, the Swedish-born striker who has been capped more than 50 times by Finland, to join Norwich City.
Alan Curbishley has long been linked with Welshman Robert Earnshaw but has made no real effort to sign him.
His move for Bent follows a well-worn route used this summer by Charlton who make bids public on a Thursday, then wait until after the weekend before completing the deal, as they did with Danny Murphy and Francis Jeffers.